On CNN, Conservative Pollster Conway, Joy Behar Spar Over the Future of 'The View'

Kellaynne Conway and Joy Behar faced off on Wednesday's CNN Tonight over the future of ABC's The View, particularly in light of Rosie O'Donnell rejoining the cast. Host Don Lemon wondered, "Will the panel reflect American politics?" When Conway asserted that the program didn't need to be political, Behar sarcastically asked if the conservative pollster wanted the job. Conway replied, "No, no, no. I think they're not really looking for a real conservative."

The former View host later underlined that "a lot of the research showed that women did get their news from us." Conway then expressed her concern about this, which led to Lemon and Behar both making the same point about the long-running ABC program: [MP3 audio available here; video below]

KELLYANNE CONWAY: But, Joy – you know, you said that's where women got their news. And I know you're right statistically speaking....But, in fairness, a lot of that, as is a lot of punditry today – not news. It's opinion. And it becomes very difficult for the average consumer to distinguish between the two....And I think that's really – it's a little bit dangerous. I mean, frankly – you know, when I come on, it's a Republican pollster, somebody else, Democratic strategist. But we don't always know every axe that everybody is grinding out there when it's under the guise of entertainment. I think there should be a distinction between true hard news and opinion.

DON LEMON: Yeah. Listen, I don't know if that's – that's not 'The View's' role. 'The View' doesn't present itself as a news show-

JOY BEHAR: The show never – but the show never represented itself as a news show – never.

Moments earlier, liberal CNN commentator L.Z. Granderson wondered if The View would change into something different with the departure of many longtime participants and the arrival of O'Donnell: "I think the purpose really has to be defined as they remake who is going to be on the panel. And what I mean by that is – is the purpose now to strictly entertain? Is the purpose now to inform? Is the purpose now to reflect the audience, or is the purpose now to reflect America? Those are four different purposes in my opinion."

Behar then made her claim about women learning about the news from her former program, and added, "They watched the show, and they got a sense of what was happening in the world from us." The CNN anchor picked up on her point and noted that "women are...[a] huge deciding voting bloc when it comes to elections, especially the presidential election. And now, should it reflect – you know, should there be a liberal? Should there be a conservative? Should there be a gay person? Should there be a man on 'The View?'"

The liberal comedian emphatically rejected a man becoming a permanent part of The View:

BEHAR: I don't think it's a man show. First of all, we listen to men all day and all night on every other channel. We see them constantly on every place. So, the women want to hear women talking. We're interested in each other's conversations.

Conway then made her point about the separation between "hard news and opinion." Despite spotlighting how many women got their news from the ABC program just moments earlier, Behar reversed course and declared that "the show never represented itself as a news show."

Earlier in the segment, Behar took a surreptitious shot at O'Donnell:

LEMON: ...You know, the rumors over there is that she has got – Rosie – I was going to say Whoopi – Rosie is going to have a whole lot of power, because she will have control reportedly.

BEHAR: Yeah. That's probably – she probably had a whole list of things for her to come back. And said, I will come back if this, this, this, and this.

LEMON: What about her at the – Barbara's show – the last show, where Barbara Walters left, saying she was sort of walking around like she, you know-

BEHAR: Like she owned the show?

LEMON: Yeah-

BEHAR: She always acts like that. She probably walks around her bathroom like that. (Lemon laughs) That's Rosie-

LEMON: That's Rosie, right? It's Rosie.

— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.